AFAC's Backpack Buddies program provides weekend and holiday meal packs for food-insecure Arlington County schoolchildren. "Food Insecurity" is the term used to describe the uncertainty of not knowing where the next meal will come from, or if it will come at all.
A recent study commissioned by AFAC and conducted by Virginia Tech's Center for Social Research estimates that as many as 9,400 children in Arlington are food insecure. For many of these children, their lunchtime meal at school is their only meal each day. Over weekends and holiday breaks, these children often go with little to no food. AFAC's Backpack Buddies program strives to help these children stay nourished at home.
On Fridays at their schools, each child enrolled in the Backpack Buddies program will receive a kit filled with nourishment for the weekend. The kits include ready-to-eat microwave meals, mac & cheese, breakfast cereal, shelf-stable milk, fruit juice, snack bars, and fresh fruit. There is enough food in each pack to feed the child for two days (six meals, plus snacks).
Children and families who benefit from the Backpack Buddies program are able to spend more quality time at the table and less time worrying about where to find their next healthy meal. If you think your child would benefit from a weekend Backpack Buddies kit, contact your Arlington Public School social worker for more information.
The Backpack Buddies program runs year-round. AFAC coordinates with all of the Arlington Public Schools as well as several community centers, aftercare programs, and summer camps to make sure all children in our community have the food they need when the weekend comes.
The food for the Backpack Buddies program is more expensive than other food AFAC purchases for the families in our care because it is prepackaged and prepared. AFAC purchases all the items for the Backpack Buddies kits to ensure quality, freshness, and low cost. AFAC estimates that the Backpack Buddies program costs approximately $10 per child, per week.
How you can help:
Donate to our campaign featuring our Backpack Buddies program or call 703-845-8486 for more information.